Markets cautious ahead of US jobs data
World markets are awaiting data on the US labor market, which could give a signal to how patient the Fed will be on interest rates. In Asia a higher close for Wall Street last night helped Japan and South Korea’s indexes hit fresh highs but concern over slower growth in China saw many markets close the week with losses. European markets are generally optimistic after the ECB announced that its QE program will begin next week, although the weak mining sector subdued some indexes.
US stock futures are flat. Oil is trending higher (Brent $61.01, WTI $50.92 at 5.50am ET). Gold is lower.
Employment Situation at 8.30am ET
International Trade at 8.30am ET
Consumer Credit at 3.00pm ET
Foot Locker, Staples and Wells Financial are among those reporting earnings today.
US jobs data awaited, could signal rate rise in 3 months
This morning’s non-farm payroll figures could mean we are just three months from an interest rate rise. Analysts are expecting a further boost to the labor force in the figures for February and many predict that the continued growth would allow the Fed to start the rate hikes.
Oil buoyant on Middle East supply concerns
Unrest in Libya and Iraq has pushed oil higher overnight with Brent nudging above $61. Islamic State fighters have set fire to oilfields in northeast Iraq and security issues have closed 11 Libyan oilfields. However talks between western powers and Iran could see new supply; if the west is satisfied that the country’s nuclear intentions are purely for energy there could be a relaxation of sanctions.
Apple bids to dominate wearable tech this year
Apple will launch what it hopes will be the dominant product in the wearable technology space this year. An industry event in San Francisco on Monday is tipped to be the launch pad for Apple’s smartwatch, coming late to the market but already tipped to be the must-have product and quickly rise to number one in the market. There were 4.6 million smartphones sold by Apple’s competitors last year, this year with Apple in the game too, it’s expected that 28.1 million will be sold.
Amazon opens store on Alibaba
Amazon has opened a store on Alibaba this week as the US firm struggles to make an impact on the world’s 2nd
largest economy. Alibaba’s Tmall platform allows established brands to sell to Chinese consumers and Amazon joins Nike, Apple and P&G on the site. Although Amazon has its own site in China it is loss making, prompting some analysts to suggest that the firm should pull out of the country. This new strategy may prove them wrong.